Chad Coleman, director of Residence Life, has been hard at work creating changes to student housing options. Coleman, along with other members of the ResLife staff, presented many of these changes at the Wednesday night housing information meeting.
“We are excited to announce some changes for the 2016-2017 year,” Coleman said.
Coleman described a trend which has been frustrating in Residence Life. “We know that students have been choosing to live off-campus as soon as they meet the residency policy requirements,” he said. The Goshen College residency policy allows students who reach 112 credit hours or 23 years of age to move off-campus.
In order to curb the flow of students leaving campus, build greater community and sustain the college financially, Coleman is pleased to announce one of the changes.
“Here’s the big one,” he said. This coming year, Goshen College will offer a 30 percent housing discount for the students who choose to live on campus even after meeting the residency policy requirements. In addition, these students are no longer required to purchase a meal plan.
In addition to this discount, Coleman has implemented several other changes in an effort to “shake things up in Residence Life and shine some much-needed light on the appeal of living on campus.”
Life in the residence halls will remain virtually unchanged, though Coleman is hopeful that with another few years of steady enrollment increases, the Miller dormitory may reopen.
In Kulp Hall, individuals paying to have double rooms to themselves will have their extra fees cut in half next year: from $500 per semester to $250. Also in Kulp, the floors will switch genders, with women in Kulp 2 and men in Kulp 3. Kulp West will no longer be a group housing option and will be split into individual rooms for women. The rationale for this is to avoid a wait-list for women’s rooms in Kulp, which was a cause of anxiety for many people last year.
Kulp South, unlike Kulp West, will remain a single-gender group housing option. The group housing program, which has been called simply “Small Group Housing” in the past, has been rebranded this year as “Intentional Living Communities.”
“Small Group Housing wasn’t small and didn’t always take place in houses,” said Coleman. “The name was simply inaccurate.”
According to Coleman, this rebranding will also make housing groups think more about their identities. In the new ILC program, groups applying must unite around a cohesive theme, such as sustainability, to be presented in their application video. The Goshen website contains further information about the application process.
Intentional Living Communities will take place in several of the traditional Small Group Housing locations: Howell and Kenwood Houses, East Hall and Kulp South. New this year will be Intentional Living Communities available in the apartments.
Apartments 201, 202, 301 and 302 will serve as co-ed ILC options for 4-6 students each.
Other changes in the apartments include reduced rates for those sharing rooms in loft apartments and an increase in 3-person apartment options.
Coleman and his team have also been working to solve a meal plan dilemma: far too many students in the apartments run out of meals at the end of the semester on their 45-meal plan, but students in what has been Small Group Housing hardly ever use all 80 of their meals in a semester.
To address this, the 45- and 80-meal plans will be replaced by one 65-meal plan which will be made available to all juniors and seniors living on campus. Coleman sees this 65-meal plan as “hitting the sweet spot.”
Coleman works to make on-campus housing more appealing to students and, in the process, contributing to the continued success of Goshen College. He said, “I believe that all of these changes not only benefit our students, but also the institution going forward.”